Structural Defects or Birth Defects Information

A birth defect is a problem that occurs while a baby is developing in the mother's body. Birth defects are defined as abnormalities of structure, work or metabolism that are present at birth. These abnormalities lead to mental or physical disabilities or are fatal. Birth defects affect about one in every 33 babies born in the United States each year. More than 150,000 children born with birth defects each year in the United States.They are the leading cause of child mortality, over 20% of all deaths in infants. Babies born with birth defects have a higher probability of disease disability and long-term babies without birth defects.

What can happen if the mother and the baby Rh factors are different. Although some drugs can cause problems, the 200 most commonly prescribed medications, no one is a significant risk of birth defects associated. Environmental causes of birth defects more to do with the health of the mother and the effects of chemicals or disease. If a mother has certain infections like rubella during pregnancy can cause birth defects. Birth defects are multifactorial. Caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors and include neural tube defects and cleft lip and palate Genetics play a role in some birth defects. Each cell in the body has chromosomes containing genes, to determine the unique characteristics of a person.

Treatment of congenital abnormalities is specific to each individual. People with severe or multiple abnormalities usually require a multidisciplinary treatment. Babies with birth defects need an operation or other medical treatments. Prenatal surgery has saved with urinary tract blockages and rare tumors of the lung babies. Other prevention is not smoking and avoid secondhand smoke, avoid alcohol, eat a healthy diet and take prenatal vitamins (make sure you have enough folic acid), avoiding all illicit drugs, exercise and plenty of rest and get early and regular prenatal care. Couples who had or have a family history of birth defects of a child with a birth defect, you should consult a genetic counselor. Obstetrics Rroutine also useful.

Science articles non-smoking and avoid secondhand smoke.

1. Avoid alcohol.
2. Avoid all illegal drugs.
3. A healthy diet and take prenatal vitamins.
4. First movement and plenty of rest.
5. Getting early and regular checkups.

Atrial Septal Defect- Definition, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Atrial septal defect is an abnormality of the heart's upper chambers (atria) where the wall between the right and left atria does not close completely. In general, the defect is a hole in the wall (septum) between the heart's two upper chambers (atria). As a group, atrial septal defects are detected in 1 child per 1500 live births. Septal defects smaller headphones can close only in infancy or early childhood. The health effects of holes that remain open often not until recent years - usually at the age of 40. Many people do not realize that so far an atrial septal defect. Sometimes a doctor detects an atrial septal defect for a newborn screening or during a routine examination in the future. Septal defects large and longstanding headphones can damage the heart and lungs. One that has an atrial septal unrecognized for decades may have a shortened life of heart failure or high blood pressure in the lungs. For children with disorders very small ASD, the ASD closes itself has more than 90% of the time. However, most ASDs must be closed. People with certain types of heart defects, including certain rarer forms of the CIA, are at greater risk of developing bacterial endocarditis, an infection of the inner surface of the heart.

The term "atrial septal defect" generally refers to provide holes in the atria to lack of atrial septal tissue, rather than a so-called patent foramen ovale in (PFO). Symptoms usually were children 30 years septal defects may manifest with larger headphones have loss of appetite and not as they should grow. Toddlers can signs of heart failure or arrhythmias. Congenital heart disease seems to run in families and sometimes occur with other genetic problems such as Down syndrome. A genetic counselor can predict the approximate probability that their children will have a future. An atrial septal defect allows oxygen-rich (red) blood from the left atrium through the opening in the septum, and then mix with oxygen-poor (blue) blood in the right atrium. Complete closure occurs in most individuals. In 25-30% of the normal heart, however, a catheter from the right atrium to the left atrium through the patent foramen ovale and secundum is passed.

The person may also develop heart or vascular damage and an increased risk of suffering a stroke or heart infection itself. Congenital heart defects of significance occur in approximately 8 out of every 1,000 live births. Surgical closure of the defect is recommended if the ASD is large or if symptoms occur. Anticoagulants, often called blood thinners, can help reduce the chances of developing a blood clot and a stroke. Anticoagulants include warfarin (Coumadin) and antiplatelet agents such as aspirin. Maintain regular heartbeat. Examples include beta blockers (Lopressor, Inderal) and digoxin (Lanoxin). Prophylactic (preventive) antibiotics should be given prior to dental procedures to reduce the risk of developing infective endocarditis. Embolization (displacement of thrombi) normally enters the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism. In a person with ASD, these emboli can potentially enter the arterial system. In most cases, atrial septal defects can not be prevented. Consider talking with a genetic counselor before becoming pregnant.

The treatment of atrial septal tips

1. Surgical closure of an ASD involves opening up at least one atrium and closing the defect with a patch under direct vision.

2. Embolization (displacement of thrombi) normally enters the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism.

3. Maintain regular heartbeat. Examples include beta blockers (Lopressor, Inderal) and digoxin (Lanoxin).

4. Increase the strength of heart contractions. Examples include digoxin (Lanoxin).

5. Reduce the amount of fluid in circulation. This reduces the volume of blood that must be pumped. These drugs, called diureticsFree Web content, include furosemide (Lasix).

6.Prophylactic antibiotics (preventive) given before dental procedures to reduce the risk of developing infectious endocarditis.

Enlarged Heart in Children


By Batul Nafisa Baxamusa

Enlarged heart in children is not a disease in itself, but a very rare symptom of other underlying medical conditions. This article will cover all the information you need to know more on its causes.

Cardiomegaly is the medical term for enlarged heart in children. It refers to the enlarged heart size seen on an X-ray, a sign that shows the heart is an overworked organ. It is usually a symptom of some underlying disease or something that alters the functioning of the heart. Adults can develop cardiomegaly due to stress on the working of the body, pregnancy or a heart disease like weakening of the muscles of the heart, coronary artery disease, heart valve problems or abnormal heart rhythms.

What is an Enlarged Heart?

Enlarged heart or cardiomegaly as mentioned is not a disease in itself. It is a condition where one observes enlargement of the heart on a chest X-ray. It is related to the disease of the heart muscles, that is, myocardium. There are different types of cardiomyopathies. These include primary that involves ailments of the heart. Secondary that involves some other disease or toxins that affect other organs as well as heart. Let us see what causes cardiomegaly in children.

Causes of Enlarged Heart in Children

High stress levels on the heart causes it to enlarge as the chambers grow and allow more blood to be processed. Thus, depending on the nature of enlargement, the heart is stretched more than its limit. A swelling in the heart in children may also lead to death. Cardiomegaly is also called hypertrophic heart. When the left ventricle of the heart gets enlarged, it is called left ventricular hypertrophy. The causes of an enlarged heart like ventricular hypertrophy is due to some disease or condition that causes extra stress on the left ventricle. The left ventricle is the main chamber for pumping in the heart.

One of the causes can also be due to cardiomyopathy. In cardiomyopathy, the heart is prevented from pumping enough blood. This causes deficiency of blood requirement within the body, leading to a condition called congestive heart failure. There can be an increase in blood pressure in the lungs and it can lead to a condition called pulmonary hypertension.

At times pericarditis can also lead to this condition. The sac surrounding the heart, that is, pericardium gets irritated and starts swelling. The child will complain of a sharp pain in the left side or the center of the chest. Fever, dry cough, shortness of breath and fatigue are common signs. Pericarditis may last for a few weeks or may become a chronic condition that lasts as long as 6 months or beyond. Other than that, myocarditis, that is inflammation of the heart wall can also lead to cardiomegaly. It is generally due to a reaction to certain chemicals, infection, medications as well as radiation.

The main causes due to cardiomyopathy is viral infection. It is generally an overreaction of the immune system to a viral infection. This virus is commonly found to be the Coxsackievirus B (CVB). Bacterial infection, like endocarditis can also lead to enlargement of the heart in children. This condition is generally treated with the help of aggressive antibiotic medications.

Many times, it may be due to congenital heart diseases, nutritional deficiency, fast heart rhythms or even due to chemotherapy for treating cancers in children. Cardiomyopathy can also be due to genetic disease or have no known cause.

Types of Cardiomyopathy Causing Enlarged Heart

There are a few types of cardiomyopathy that causes dilation of the heart. The following are some of the causes:

Dilated or Congestive Cardiomyopathy

The most common type of cardiomyopathy that causes the heart to enlarge and stretch that makes it weak and pump blood inefficiently. This disease may also cause other conditions like irregular heart rhythms leading to arrhythmia or dysrhythmia, increased chances of developing blood clots and congestive heart failure. Many infections, especially viral infections may also cause an inflammation of the heart muscles or myocarditis that causes cardiomyopathy. Chemotherapy that is given for treating cancers also leads to dilated cardiomyopathy. Many times, 20% of the children suffering from this condition have someone in the family with cardiomyopathy, making it a type of hereditary disease.

As explained earlier, the blood flow to the various parts of the body is decreased in cardiomyopathy. Thus, the body begins to conserve nutrients in the essential organs like brain, kidneys, etc. by lowering the supply of these essentials nutrients to skin and muscles. There are many symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy that are commonly seen in children. However, not all children exhibit these symptoms. The symptoms due to dilated cardiomyopathy include:

Ashen skin color or pale color
Sweaty skin
Rapid heart rate
Increased rate of breathing
Shortness of breath
Fatigue
Irritability
Chest pain
Slow growth
Vomiting
Abdominal pain

The treatment of dilated cardiomyopathy is based on the child's age and overall health of the child. The progress of the disease and the tolerance to specific therapies, medications and procedures by the child also plays an important role. The doctor may try to help the heartbeat more effectively and decrease the stress on the heart with the help of certain medications. He may also prescribe drugs that prevent clots, inflammation and irregular heartbeats. The enlarged heart in children due to dilated cardiomyopathy may improve with improvement in the viral infection. However, it may also worsen and transplantation of the heart may be considered.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; also known by other medical terms like hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (HOCM), asymmetric septal hypertrophy (ASH), or idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis (IHSS), is a rare disease. In this condition, the muscular mass of left ventricles become larger than normal or the septum between the two ventricles is enlarged. This causes obstruction in the flow of blood from the left ventricle, leading to abnormalities.

One of the mitral valve separating the left atrium and left ventricle may get affected by the thickened septal wall. This leads to a leaking mitral valve. Thus, the blood moves backward from the left ventricle into the left atrium instead of flowing in the forward direction into the body. The causes of enlarged heart due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is mostly due to hereditary conditions. The symptoms due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are:

Dizziness
Pain in chest
Abnormal heart rhythms
Fainting spells

The course of treatment and medications given to treat this condition due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are similar to dilated cardiomyopathy. The treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may also include surgery. The surgical procedures may involve placing an artificial pace maker, removal of a part of the enlarged muscle or heart transplantation.

If you observe anything out of the unusual with your child's health, consult a doctor immediately. It is very important to trust your parental instincts and take immediate action to ease it. Your child's doctor knows what's best for your child. Follow medical advice and take some utmost care of your child and his/her heart health.


Heart Valve Disease - Symptoms and Possible Causes

by Saul Peterson

The heart is one of the strongest muscles in the human body. It is divided into two halves, called the atrium and the ventricle chambers and between these two chambers are a set of valves that insure that the blood flows in only one direction. Occasionally however, these valves become damaged and as a result the person could suffer from some sort of heart valve disease. If left untreated this disease could lead to heart failure and even death.

Signs and Symptoms

It is truly difficult to determine if a set of symptoms are a sign of heart valve disease, since many of them are so mild and can be attributed to a number of different conditions including asthma, heartburn, heart attack, or sometimes even pregnancy. The best thing to do is to have a running conversation with your medical professional concerning your thoughts and physical symptoms. Based on that complete picture, he or she should be able to diagnose your situation professionally. Heart valve disease is a serious condition, and should never be self-diagnosed although there are a few common symptoms of heart valve disease that if you notice on a regular basis you should watch out for. If you experience dizzy spells or faintness brought on by physical activity, shortness of breath, or chest pain while doing physical activity it is certainly something to bring up to your doctor as soon as possible.

Possible Causes of Heart Valve Disease

Often heart valve disease is caused by a malformation of the valves that separate the two chambers of the heart. These deformities can include narrowed valves, and leaking valves.

Narrowed valves that can lead to valve heart disease can be caused by a number of things, some unpreventable, others that can be prevented. One cause of this condition is congenital abnormality, a condition that is often seen since birth. Another cause, one that can be prevented through diet exercise and perhaps medications is degeneration of the valve through atherosclerosis, or hardening of the blood vessels. In addition heart valve disease can also be caused by damage from rheumatic fever or extensive calcification that sometimes occurs in old age.

Leaking valves that can lead to heart valve disease can be caused by a number of additional factors. These include such things as a bacterial infection, or other inflammation of the valve, excessive floppiness of the valve leaflets, or even enlargement of the heart or the aorta. Any or all of these things can be the cause for leaking valves, and therefore heart valve disease.

Although heart valve disease is not, in every case a matter of life and death, it can sometimes lead to major complications within the heart, which is something that nobody would ever want. The best course of action, as always in any medical situation, is to talk to your doctor and be honest with him or her. Together you should be able to recognize a potential case of heart valve disease and make the necessary lifestyle changes.

Complete Information on Fallot Tetralogy


by Alicia Stock


Tetralogy of fallot is a congenital heart defect. This heart defect is mostly find in children. Congenital heart defects change the normal flow of blood through the heart. This rare and complex heart defect occurs in about 5 out every 10,000 babies. It affects boys and girls equally. Tetralogy of Fallot occurs due to improper development of the heart in the first eight weeks of fetal growth. Some congenital heart defects may have a genetic link. One genetic link that has been associated with tetralogy of fallot is a deletion, or tiny missing piece, of chromosone 22q11. The condition is known as the 22q11 deletion, and blood tests are available to detect it.

Environmental exposures, such as maternal abuse of alcohol during pregnancy leading to fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), are Connected to Tetralogy of Fallot. Mothers who take medications to control seizures and mothers with phenylketonuria (PKU) also are more likely to have a baby with Tetralogy of fallot. Tetralogy of fallot results in low oxygenation of blood due to mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood in the left ventricle through the VSD and preferential flow of both oxygenated and deoxygenated blood from the ventricles through the aorta because of obstruction to flow through the pulmonary valve.

Corrective surgery is usually performed at about six months. The goal of surgery is to repair the defects so the heart can work as normally as possible. Almost 70 per cent of babies with Fallot's tetralogy will need complex heart surgery Heart surgery and anaesthetic techniques have changed dramatically in recent years. The first surgery may be done to help increase blood flow to the lungs, and a surgery to correct the problem is done at a later time. Corrective surgery is done to widen part of the narrowed pulmonary tract and close the ventricular septal defect.